The Carenar 45mm f2.8 manual focus lens on Nex5n…and the old Atlantis ruins…

Digital, Lenses, Photography Discussion

Ok, ok, I know it has been a loooooong time since I have written a decent post or review or anything on here, and I do appologise. I got very distacted by losing a bass player in my band and recruiting a replacent and training him up, plus I also did a short stint fronting a local band too. It has been winter here too, so the light has not been great, but I have still kept getting out to shoot as often as possible. I actually have much material to share with you all. I have had both my brothers and a mate from work all buy good cameras recently and take up photography. So it has been a very inspiring time.

My lens collecting addiction has certainly not gone away and neither has my passion for manual lens photography. I was also lucky enough to acquire two new digitals besides my Nex5 and KX for my birthday, a Nex5n and K30, but more on all this in a later article…

…For now, having taken time to reshuffle my priorities a little, I have had more time to get back to shooting more as of late and thus able to participate in more discussions about manual lenses. Recently while on one of my favorite forums, Manual Focus Lenses, I came across a post about a Petri 45mm f2.8. As I like to read about lenses, and having owned a 45mm f2.8 I clicked on the post and gave it a read. The lens pictured by the poster looked very similar to my Carenar 45mm f2.8, so I informed him of such and took a pic for comparison. They indeed do look identical, bar the brandings on the lens. We both now believe that this lens was produced by a third party. I already knew this about my Carenar as I had done research about it myself, however I was surprised to find an identical lens rebranded as  Petri. I have only been able to find a little about the Carenar brand but have no idea as of yet who the manufacturer of this lens was, however I have been informed that this is in-fact a copy of the Carl Zeiss 45mm f2.8 Tessar, here is the little I know about the brand:

This is as much as I have been able to find about the Carenar brand to date:

Quelle is a german company selling by command from a catalogue but also has shops in bigger german towns. They also had a chain called Foto Quelle for photogear and film but after being big in the 70s (older photographers toldme they were really good shops concurring with specialised photodealers) and declining at the end of the 80s they were closed in the middle of the 90s. The Quelle shops (selling from clothes to household and electronics) were also in trouble in the last years but some of them still exist and even have a little department of photographic gear and film development service.
The catalogue selling business still flourish as far as I know. Interesting side note, after the german postal market was liberalised and the Deutsche Post lost his monopol situation Quelle opened his sending channels used before to deliver the products from the catalogue to everyone, not only customers. They were for long time (and still are) the cheapest method to send things around in Germany. (Oh… the site says Quelle was sold. Seem they couldn’t avoid bankrupcy.)
Quelle (or Foto Quelle) had two lines of inhouse brand cameras: Revue or Revueflex (SLRs) and Carena. The corresponding lenses were labeled Revuenon and Carenar.
Behind this two names they sold anything they could get from GDR (mostly Praktica but I believe also some compacts and some 6×6 or 6×4,5 box cameras), USSR (ZTM and M42 Zenits, LTM rangefinders, TLRs, compacts, etc.), China (mostly Seagull TLRs but folders also), Japan (different producers, not only Cosina and Chinon also “better” names) and even USA (especially Polaroid instant cameras).
I don’t know why the two lines. It seems to me that Carena was introduced later but did not replace the Revue/Revueflex line.

After agreeing that my Carenar lens did infact look identical to his Petri, the poster then asked me if I had any shots with the lens I could share. I said I would get him some. I knew I had some from when I first got the lens but they were average and rather old now, so I decided it was about time I went out for a decent shoot with this lens and give it a bit of a review.

Deciding where to go for a shoot in Perth is always the hardest thing for and Lisa and I. It always seems as if there is not much here, which I guess can be true… this kind of led us too our location for today. There used to be many more big Theme Parks in Perth back some 20 years ago, however over the years most had all gone bankrupt and are now laying in ruin. Quite sad actually, when the whole state is crying out for more entertainment…. but that is another story. We decided to drive up to Yanchep and have a look around the old Atlantis theme park ruins and see if we could get some shots. It turned out to be quite a nostalgic trip for me as I remember visiting the park as a child and having fond memories of the visit.

The lens is of manly plastic construction it feels. It does not feel poor or flimsy however, no, it actually feels rather sturdy. The lens is very light though, and rather short, like most 45mm I find can almost be qualified as a pancake lens. It seems to have a very smooth and short turn to the focus diaphram, thus I am thinking it could be very good for video. My copy is a little scuffed up on the outside, but optically is in great shape. These are actually a little rare to find on E-bay.

I am quite happy with the sharpness of this lens. For something that I took a punt on E-bay for, and for how light and plastic-y it feels, it takes some great pictures. Good colour, and the compactness of the lens with how light it is make it quite a comfortable fit on the Nex5n for a walk around prime. Having the 1.5X crop of the APS-C sensor in the Nex the real lens focal length of 45mm actually becomes about a 67.5mm effective focal length, which is still not too bad for a walk around length. It only focuses down to about 80cm so it is not particularly close focusing, but still adequate for most shooting. I have done some 100% crops for you to peruse. As with all my images, please click on them to view larger and sharper. These were all shot at about f5.6

How’s the Bokeh? Could be a little distracting by some peoples tastes…. but could be characteristic to others.


As you can see, good colour representation as well as sharpness, I did however have to boost the contrast a little to compensate for a little glow, so I believe the coatings may be a little old.


I like that this lens seems to represent some decent 3D pop, as is demonstrated in this pic of this old abandoned trolley.

All in all I think this lens is a decent pick-up if you can grab it for around $50-$80. However I am noticing a trend of increasing prices in the second hand manual lens market as more of us start to realise their true value. I think this lens represent decent band for buck if you can pick up a clean copy for a reasonable price. It is light, and smooth, is pretty sharp, has good colour representation, if a little low on contrast and has some nice 3D pop. All in all I have to say I quite like this lens and will have to pull it out more often. Bellow are some more pictures taken with this lens from the same outing.

The Fall of Man… Enlightenment from the depths of the Perth underground?


Crossover is a term that I hear getting thrown around a lot lately. Typically being used to describe bands that cross two or more musical genres or sub-genres in the creation of their sound. Having heard this term used in relation to fast risers on the local scene, The Fall of Man, I would have to agree with this appraisal upon listening to this debut release from the band. The guys manage to successfully blend elements of rock, core and metal on this record, so perhaps Enlightenment is an apt title.

This Ep opens commandingly with Pathogen. You are greeted with tremolo guitars over a nice breakdown groove, which quickly switches to an up tempo verse, Justin Camilleri blares ‘Like open flesh to flies, Infected by your lies. Played to the masses, By the masters of deceit!‘. The scene is set.

Shoryuken is the party song of this record. Fast paced, up tempo. It sounds as though Cam Butler & Ben Clarke get to have a bit of fun on the back-ups on this track, all while Ben keeps that rockin’ groove. The funky, wah based middle eight is a great moment for me, kudos to Cam Butler & Nick Ballantyne.

I think Redemption would most definitely have to be the stand out track. Opening with a sublime clean intro, that has this lazy, rainy day kind of feel. The guitars then crunch into this early Dysfunction era Staind meets Mastadon style epic pre-verse, I guess you would call it. The break down at the 3.25 mark however, has no hint of Staind or Mastadon I’m afraid to say. But definitely a hint of Meshuggah on the lead tone. Great work on pulling that tone.

Dom Castledine’s bass shines no higher than on the intro to Inferno Ascending I feel. Nice fast guitars with some big fat bass pull-offs, this intro is attention grabbing.

Before I talk about the final track and round up this review, I would like to touch on the production. I know some like a record that is beat corrected and note perfect. But I must say I do like a well produced record, that still sounds like the musicians actually performed it. Botch were the masters of this, and this is what you get here. It is not perfect production, but that is not to say it is bad. No quite the contrary, the production is quite good. I love the rawness that is there. This record sounds great, but you can also hear the musicians playing it. You can hear the strings flapping around on the intro to Fear of A Dying Breed. You can hear the beater attack on the drums. You can hear the room in the vocal mix. This makes you feel like you are right there in the room with the band. Right there at a show with them. It works for me.

All in all, The Fall of Man have produced an intelligent record for their debut release. In Enlightenment you get some well thought out, mature songwriting… even with a little fun thrown in the mix: ‘Oh, You up in my shit, You fucking hypocrite, I’ll fucking beat you down!‘ – opening lines to Shoryuken, case and point. haha
Make sure you grab a copy!! \m/

The Fall Of Man will be launching their debut EP on Thursday the 7th on June @ Wired at Black Betty’s!

For more about the band, check out their Facebook page here:

Systemic – An Impressive Debut from Perth band ‘Define My Addiction’!


I know I have fallen way behind on cd reviews lately. Sorry for that guys, been real busy with work and the search for a new bass player over in the From Isolation camp. I also have to confess that I misplaced this disc for some time which delayed the review too, I turned the house upside down before I found it again. So I appologise again for my tardiness, anyway enough with the admissions, on with the review.

The band describe themselves as:
Define My Addiction are a cataclysmic display of heavy grooves, soaring hooks and riff driven, clown based melody crossed with tourettes-like punctuation.

The concept of ‘All-Star’ bands in the Perth scene is not a new concept, but one I seem to see cropping up more frequently as of late. This is probably more a point of the fact that as I age (sadly, haha), more of the musicians I came up through the scene with are now teaming up on new projects. So these projects seem to me to be made up of all duly credited musicians thus earn them a little bit of an ‘All-Star’ band status in my mind.

One such band that I have been all too keen to review is Define My Addiction. Comprising  Jon Mazzardis on vocals previously fronting ‘In A Moment/Factious‘ and currently also fronting ‘Arkayan‘, Jonathon Koch features on guitars, Jaxon Boin on bass and Tim Birrell is their drum assailant all of previous ‘Saturation Point‘ fame.

Their debut offering ‘Systemic‘ is a full length offering, which is impressive, as many opt for the good old EP for their first release. This is definitely a progressive record, ranging from Chilli Peppers‘esque moments to an almost Machine Head kind of vibe in the heavy sections. Mazzardis’ vocals titter from sweet, soft and sublime one minute, to gritty and commanding the next and some how reminiscent of Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan. Koch’s guitars are punchy, clear and well defined, some of his melodic lead runs on this record are incredibly impressive. The bass pounded out by Jaxon Boin sits out clearly in the mix, which is a refreshing change from the typical attitude of hiding the bass under the mix, you will find this is however due to the impeccable quality of Jaxon’s playing on this album. The drums on this record are well balanced and there is a definite feel of finesse to Birrell’s playing, Bludgeoning and fat to light and airy all with seeming ease. The mix must be commended, this is an outstanding sounding record and kudos must go to Al Smith @ Bergerk studios for mixing and mastering.

I think the finale track ‘Nameless‘ would have to be the standout for me. Opening with these nice shredding guitars, pounding drums & bass and closely followed by Jon’s brutal, grating screams. All running out into a nice melodic lead run verse, which intern leads into a fantastic bass led clean section, absolutely sublime. Definitely flavors of the ‘Chilli Peppers‘ here and not in copy way, in a completely unique and enjoyable way, yet while still maintaining that desired flavour. Fantastic, mature song writing. Two thumbs up.

If your into heavy, progressive, metal tinged rock, I would definitely suggest checking these guys out. This is a killer record from a fantastic band that is just getting started. We look forward to more great things from Define My Addiction

You can check out the band on their Facebook page for all the latest details about shows, releases etc.

Systemic is out now, make sure you grab your copy!

Tokina 353: Lens testing this old film auto zoom on my Pentax KX

Digital, Lenses, Photography Discussion

I had the opportunity to acquire a Tokina 353 35-300 auto zoom in Pentax mount for $60 a couple of weeks ago. I did a bit of a Google before going to inspect the lens, however I found very little information about this lens online, and test shots were all but non-existent. I did however find a random thread which contained peoples opinions of the lens from their experience with it. The comments ranged from “this lens is excellent, really sharp!” through to “this lens is a coke bottle, worst lens ever made!”. So the lens could be either fantastic or reportedly one of the worst lenses ever made, how could I pass that up? I had to get it and give it a thorough review.

The next afternoon after work, I strapped it on the front of my Pentax Kx, put the dogs on their leashes and walked down the park to have a little test shoot. I first off just started just taking some random snaps around the park just to get a feel for the lens.

Iso 200, App. F8, Sh. Sp. 1/800, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F10, Sh. Sp. 1/500, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F4.5, Sh. Sp. 1/125, Focal length: 65mm

Iso 200, App. F7.1, Sh. Sp. 1/320, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 400, App. F11, Sh. Sp. 1/100, Focal length: 35mm

Iso 400, App. F7.1, Sh. Sp. 1/320, Focal length: 300mm

It actually performed better than I had anticipated from all the negative comments I had heard about this lens. I know I went into the test not expecting too much. So I know I was very critical about the lens seeming rather soft at first when checking my shots on the KX screen. Looking back they actually do not seem too bad, but I know when first reviewing my results I was neither impressed or un-impressed by this little known old lens.

So I did some crops to check how it was rendering detail. Now these are not comprehensive as I did not have the cam on a tripod so all shots were freehand and may effect the results a little as I may not have had the steadiest hands.

Iso 800, App. F10, Sh. Sp. 1/320, Focal length: 300mm

100% crop

Iso 400, App. F11, Sh.Sp. 1/400, Focal length: 210

100% crop

I was un-happy with these two tests as I feel I had maybe not been as steady as I could have been and I feel I had let the ISO change a little too much which could effect the 100% crop results too. So I set the Pentax to 200 ISO to rule that out and picked a fixed target to shoot a couple of 100% crops at a couple of different focal lengths to see how she performs through her range.

Iso 200, App. F8, Sh. Sp. 1/800, Focal length: 300mm

100% crop

Iso 200, App. F9, Sh. Sp. 1/800, Focal length: 125mm

100% crop

Iso 200, App. F10, Sh. Sp. 1/640, Focal length: 70mm

100% crop

Now I know this is not the full focal range of the lens, but I feel it is enough to give you an idea of how it is performing. I was actually reasonably impressed looking back at the results, as there is quite good detail in that 100% crop from the street lamp at 300mm.
I had a bit more of a shoot around the park before I went home to review the results.

Iso 400, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/400, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/500, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 400, App. F14, Sh. Sp. 1/500, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 400, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/400, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F5, Sh. Sp. 1/200, Focal length: 35mm

Iso 200, App. F9, Sh. Sp. 1/25, Focal length: 125mm

Iso 200, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/25, Focal length: 300mm

This shot actually highlights something I noticed about this lens, it’s auto focus seems to be ever so slightly off. Not by much, but enough to get it to focus on the wrong thing when two small things are close together. I have a feeling this lens will resolve a lot better if I was to manually focus it myself.  After this I went home and while reviewing the shots I had a thought. This lens supposedly has VR or vibration reduction built into it since it was made for film cameras that did not have IBIS or in body image stabilisation. I remembered reading somewhere that if a lens has stabilisation and the camera body has stabilisation this can effect your photos as they will both be throwing each other out.
So the very the next afternoon I took the Tokina 353 out again, but this time with IBIS turned off in my Pentax KX. Again I started off just by taking some random snaps.

Iso 200, App. F5.6, Sh. Sp. 1/125, Focal length: 125mm

Iso 200, App. F7.1, Sh. Sp. 1/320, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F6.7, Sh.Sp. 1/250, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F4.5, Sh. Sp. 1/125, Focal length: 65mm

Iso 200, App.F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/250, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/50, Focal length: 230mm

I of course decided to do some crops. However I shot a less static target today, more out of whim than anything else, though I wanted to test it’s detail in a situation where it’s max focal length would be used.

Iso 200, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/400, Focal length: 300mm

100% crop

Iso 200, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/400, Focal length: 300mm

100% crop

Iso 200, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/400, Focal length: 300mm

100% crop

Iso 200, App. F6.7, Sh. Sp. 1/500, Focal length: 300mm

I then continued having a bit more of a shoot, just wanting to make sure I felt I had enough material to compare with shake reduction on or off.

Iso 200, App. F8, Sh. Sp. 1/320, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F7.1, Sh. Sp. 1/320, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F6.3, Sh. Sp. 1/640, Focal length: 38mm

Iso 200, App. F5.6, Sh. Sp. 1/200, Focal length: 125mm

Iso 200, App. F7.1, Sh. Sp. 1/320, Focal length: 300mm

Iso 200, App. F6.3, Sh. Sp. 1/100, Focal length: 210mm

Iso 200, App. F6.3, Sh. Sp. 1/160, Focal length: 210mm

Iso 200, App. F5.6, Sh. Sp. 1/60, Focal length: 90mm

All in all after reviewing these test results I’m not entirely convinced that turning the Shake Reduction off gains you anything in this instance. I think the lens may have performed just as well in both tests, but I would very much like your opinions. Do you think you can see any differences I am missing? Please comment and let me know.

Overall though, I have to say this lens is not as bad as some of the reports I had read. It seems to be an average performer, but then again it covers such a large focal range from 35-300mm. I do not think this lens is any kind of stellar performer and would not be in the league for sharpness as a Tamron 70-300mm or the Sigma 50-300mm lenses. However both these lenses do not give you as much versatility in focal range and both will set you back at least $200aus brand new. So if you can pick this lens up for around $50-75 aus I think you will have a pretty neat little versatile lens for those times when versatility is paramount. I also do not think this lens is not without character. Being an older lens the images that come from it have a character about it and you also get that trade mark Tokina bokeh. Being slightly soft may actually lend this lens to being a decent portrait lens, It does seem to have some haloing, this is something I will have to test. The corner sharpness is not great, especially out at 300mm but again what do you expect from an old 90’s lens that is as versatile as this, without being huge. Although back around the wide end this lens is actually quite surprisingly sharp.

I think this lens has a place for those that are willing to make exceptions for what it is or work with it’s limitations/characteristics. I am happy to have this in my kit bag for those occasions when this lens may lend it’s unique character, odd as it may be sometimes, and I do not think it deserves it’s reputation as the worst lens ever made. I definitely think this lens will also shine more for you if you are prepared to take the time to shoot it manually.


Pentax K01: First hands on look!

Cameras, Photography Discussion

Today I got to put my grubby little hands on one of the first Pentax K01’s to hit the shores here in Oz! So I took a few pics of this funky new piece of kit and thought I might share some of my first impressions of the camera with you all.

The first thing I noticed about this little beauty was that it felt very sturdy in my hand, that great Pentax build quality is there, no corners were cut as far as manufacturing was concerned. I must admit that it is quite fat, much fatter than I had anticipated in my head actually. This camera is not really any smaller than say a Pentax Kx, however the more streamlined design does make it feel smaller and compact in your hand. All the dials and switches clicked nicely and firmly, it generally had an all round nice hand feel.  The screen is fantastic, very high resolution and a good size, however I feel it was a mistake to not make the screen tilt-able. This aside it is a very good screen for checking focus. Which brings me to kit 40mm f2.8 lens. This lens is really small, it is only about 10-15mm high, in total! It is also a stellar performer, quite quick and silent to focus, while also being rather sharp. Not as sharp as the Pentax 40mm limited, but not far behind either. I personally think this lens would be nice in my kit 🙂  The addition of the built in popup flash is a nice bonus, and it seems adequate for most general tasks.

Unfortunately I was unable to take away any of the photos I took with it today, however the sensor does seem to render very nice output. The dials, controls and back panels all seem typical of a Pentax Dslr if not re-configured for this new mirror-less body.

All in all this is a very nice little camera, although I can’t help myself wondering if it is a little too late to the mirror-less party with it’s current feature list. Sure it is pretty much a mirror-less K5 with a few less features in a redesigned body with a great 40mm prime lens for $899au, but now that the K5 has come down in price you can have one of those bodies without a lens for around$896au online, plus you get all the extra pro features and the viewfinder. But I also can’t help but compare it to the Sony Nex5n which is currently around about $596au with the kit 16mm lens. You get the same 16mp sensor as in the K5 and the K01 one, you get a tilt-able screen that is just as high resolution as the K01, but no viewfinder like the K5. So to surmise the K5 is still the superior pro league camera in my eyes, but if you were going for a pro-sumer mirror-less the Nex5n still represents a larger ‘Bang for Buck’ figure to me. While I’m sure there are devoted Pentax lovers that will choose this mirror-less as their smaller alternative to carry all their Pentax auto glass, I am personally still afraid that at this price-point the K01 may just have missed the mark a little. However I look forward to future installments of this capable little camera system from Pentax.

(I had to laugh that the strap is exactly as was pictured in the promotional information that was released prior to the cameras debut)

BloodKlot: Death Metal on the more traditional side of things…


With the massive boom in popularity of Deathcore over the last 5 years, I have found myself often wondering where that left more traditional Death Metal styles.  Just fine it would seem if you ask some of my more senior Metal Head friends. I think you would hear the same if you asked Perth band ‘BloodKlot’. For they serve up a formidable blend of classic death metal on their debut 2 track disc ‘The Coagulation‘.

Now, as many of you would already know, I am not what anyone would call a traditional Death Metal connoisseur. No not at all. I have always gravitated to the more “Prog-y” and “Math-y” genres of metal. I must however admit that I have always been a sucker for good ‘Slam’ which is often labeled in with ‘Deathcore’ these days, but I have also spent many a night in my youth staying up drinking at mates places with ‘Obituary’, ‘Napalm Death’, ‘Pungent Stench’, ‘Six Feet Under’ etc. etc. bludgeoning away in the background. So I am no stranger to the more classic forms of death.

The first track on The Coagulation, ‘Impaled by The Reaper’ opens with a train like chugging riff setting the ominous stage for what you are about to hear contained within this 2 tracker. The production is actually very tidy, the drums pounded out by Luke Parkinson, sound crisp, clear and tight. The guitars brought by Aaron Mangano and Shane Harrison have a nice attack and sit well in the mix, sounding both thick and defined. Ben Ingram’s bass compliments the whole mix perfectly, you can hear him chugging away under all the great brutality. I think ‘Flamethrower Massacre’ would have to be the standout track for me, it just grabs me right from the start with the superb pounding double kicks, always an attention grabber.

All-in-all I think ‘Bloodklot’ have done a good job on this Debut 2 track disc. Creating something that is very listenable and a harken back to the Death Metal of yester year. I think I have a few friends that would really dig this. I look forward to hearing what comes next from this Perth based Death Metal Quartet.

If you want to check out more from ‘BloodKlot’, they have a Facebook page:

Unexpected acquisition: Pentax Kx first look


It was quite a nice day on Sunday, so Lisa and I decided to go to ‘Kings Park’ and take some photos. We had not been there in years and I really wanted to shoot some stitches. I will cover this in more detail when my films are developed, hopefully tomorrow afternoon. As I eluded to in the previous sentence, I shot some film as well as digital, so after we were done we went to our local ‘Fuji’ booth to drop the films off for developing. While there I noticed there was a special sign in front of the Pentax Kx’s. I had been thinking about picking one up since I recieved a nice Pentax 30-80mm auto zoom which I had just taken to Max to be serviced. These normally retail for about $700-799, however not this week. Upon closer inspection of the special sign they were on special for this week at $360 with 18-55m zoom lens! How could I pass this up? I had to buy it.

Upon first inspection I am very happy with the build, it feels very sturdy in my hand. I however noticed that the LCD screen was unprotected, so the first thing I did was put one of those sticky Iphone screen protectors over it to protect it from scratching. I turned it on and flicked through the menu, set it to store in Raw plus Jpeg and went about test shooting wanting to see how it performed out the box, before I went and made all my customary settings changes. Right off the bat I was impressed with how quick the auto focus was. Having been shooting both my Minolta 500si and 700si film cameras all day along with my Sony Nex digital, I was craving the viewfinder of my film cameras. That was the first thing I fell in love with about the Pentax Kx, it felt more like shooting a film SLR. The lenses seemed sharp and contrasty and the sensor seemed to render very nicely. The LCD on this however, is nothing in comparison to that of the Nex, no contest. The Nex wins hands down. This is not the point of the screen on the Kx however, it is intended solely as a review screen to see if you captured the shot ok. You can shoot in live-view however this is very slow, again nothing in comparison with the Nex, but again this is not the intended usage of the Kx. Having knocked out just an initial test shoot around the house, I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of the shots, this is a very good camera.

This is not intended as a full review just now, more just a first look at how it performs out the box. Here are a few of my first test shots:

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/100, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/60, Ap. F7.1, ISO 1600

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 23.1mm, Sh. Sp. 1/60, Ap. F5, ISO 1600

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 47.5mm, Sh. Sp. 1/800, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/1000, Ap. F8, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/2000, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 42.5mm, Sh. Sp. 1/1000, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/80, Ap. F7.1, ISO 1600

Shot using the 35-80mm @ 80mm, Sh. Sp. 1/160, Ap. F8, ISO 800

Shot using the 35-80mm @ 80mm, Sh. Sp. 1/800, Ap. F8, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/30, Ap. F5.6, ISO 1600

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/200, Ap. F6.3, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 40mm, Sh. Sp. 1/125, Ap. F4.5, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/100, Ap. F5.6, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/2500, Ap. F7.1, ISO 200

Shot using the 18-55mm @ 55mm, Sh. Sp. 1/200, Ap. F8, ISO 200

After this initial test shoot I am very happy with this camera and it will always be in my kit from now on. Stay posted for the full review in a few weeks when I have had a thorough test.

Here are the specs of the Pentax Kx:

Image Sensor
Sensor Type: CMOS
Sensor Manufacturer:
Total Megapixels: 12.9
Effective Megapixels: 12.4
Sensor Format: APS-C
Sensor Size (dia.): 1.11″
Focal Length Multiplier: 1.5
Color Filter Type: RGBG
Self-Cleaning: Yes
Sensor-shift Stabilized: Yes
Image Capture
Image Resolution: 4288 x 2848 (12.2 MP, 3:2),3936 x 2624 (10.3 MP, 3:2),3072 x 2048 (6.3 MP, 3:2),1728 x 1152 (2.0 MP, 3:2)
Image File Format: JPEG (EXIF 2.21), 12-bit RAW (.PEF, .DNG)
Video Capture
Movie Mode: Yes
Movie Resolution: 1280×720, 640×416
Movie Frame Rate: 24, 24
Movie Audio: Yes
Movie File Format: n/a
Lens Mount: PENTAX KAF2; KAF3/2, KAF, KA
Kit Lens: smc Pentax DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL
Focal Length (35mm equivalent): 27 – 84 mm
Zoom Ratio: 3.00x
Aperture Range: f/3.5 – 22 (W), f/5.6 – 38 (T)
Normal Focus Range:
Macro Focus Range:
Optical Image Stablization: No
Digital Zoom: No
Digital Zoom Values: n/a
Filter Thread: 52mm
Auto Focus
Auto Focus: Yes
Auto Focus Type: SAFOX VIII TTL phase-detect 11 point (9 cross) AF: 11 pt auto, 5 pt auto, AF pt select, center/spot
Face Detection: Yes
Auto Focus Assist Light? Yes
Manual Focus: Yes
Optical Viewfinder
Optical Viewfinder: Yes
Optical Viewfinder Type: SLR type; fixed eye-level pentamirror, 96% coverage, 0.85x mag., -2.5 to +1.5 diopter
LCD Viewfinder: Yes
LCD Size (inches): 2.7
LCD Resolution (pixels):
Articulating LCD: No
Max Playback Zoom: 16.0x
ISO Settings: Auto (200-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800
Auto ISO Mode: Yes
White Balance Settings: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent (D, N, W, L), Flash, Custom
Shutter Speed Range: 30 – 1/6000
Bulb Mode: Yes
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2.0EV in 0.3EV steps
Metering Modes: 16-segment Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Program AE: Yes
Aperture Priority: Yes
Shutter Priority: Yes
Full Manual Exposure: Yes
Creative Exposure Modes: Auto Picture (Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Action, Night Scene Portrait, Picture (Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Action, Night Scene Portrait, Standard Flash Off), Scene (Night Scene, Surf & Snow, Food, Sunset, Kids, Pet, Candlelight, Museum, Stage Lighting [JPG], Night Snap [JPG]), Sensitivity Priority
Self Timer: 2 or 12 seconds
Time Lapse:
Built-in Flash: Yes
Flash Modes: On, off, redeye, slow sync, slow sync w redeye, slow sync w trailing curtain, wireless
Flash Guide Number (ISO 100): 11 m / 37 ft.
Flash Range Description: Depends on lens
Max Flash Sync: 1/180
Flash Exp Compensation: -2 to +1 EV in 0.5EV steps
Ext Flash Connection: Hot Shoe
Image Storage
Usable Memory Types: SD / SDHC
Memory Included (MB):
File System: FAT32
DCF Compliant: Yes
Composite Video Out: Yes
NTSC/PAL Switchable: Yes
Video Usable as Viewfinder: No
HD Video Out: No
HD Video Connection:
Built-In Wi-fi: No
Computer/Printer: USB 2.0 High Speed
PictBridge Compliant: No
DPOF Compliant: Yes
Remote Control: Yes
Remote Control Type: Optional IR
Other Connection: AC adapter available
Battery Form Factor: 4 x AA
Usable Battery Types: Lithium, Alkaline disposables; NiMH rechargeables
Batteries Included: 4 x AA Alkaline disposables
Battery Charger Included: No
CIPA Rating: 420
Included Software: CD-ROM
OS Compatibility: Windows XP/Vista/7, MacOS-X 10.3+
Notes & Features: Sensor-shift shake reduction, 720p HD video capture, Live View with face detection. Available in black or white.





First impressions of New Era fish food by Matthew Wallace


This is a first look at a great new fish food range to hit the market in this country. Thanks to Matt or reviewing and sharing his thought with us. Matt is Mattrox a member on our forum

I have been trialing the New Era Rift Lake Green, Rift Lake Red, and Aegis for a couple of weeks now. The texture of the pellet is very interesting, it is soft, but not mushy. I have a very large venustus in with some mbuna, I have been feeding that tank rift lake green. The pellets are about 1mm in diameter and 3 to 4 mm long, the mbuna really do smash it. Due to the texture and plyability of the pellet I am able to squeeze a pinch into a larger pellet to drop in for the venustus. This has been very effective.

In the fish room:

In the hap and peacock tanks I have been using rift lake red. But a couple have labidochromis species, so I do feed some rift lake green in these tanks. I’m not too fussed if the haps and peacocks get the green. All the fish eat the food ravenously.

The mbuna tanks have been fed on rift lake green. Again all fish are really eager to eat the food. More so than ‘normal’.

I have fed the Aegis immune booster food today to all the above tanks. I will do it all this week, and return to the red/green next week.

The baby fish are still being fed NLS Grow and Fish Focus growth, with some of the larger juveniles getting a little bit of the red/green as appropriate.

My impressions are that this food is a quality product. If things continue to be positive it will be added to the range of foods I use in the fish room.  I had just returned from holiday, where for 2 weeks the fish were being looked after and fed every second day, and not much food either.  They were swapped over to the New Era about 1 week after my return and the resumption of ‘normal’ feeding and are still recovering their condition. All the fish are maintaining their stunning colours and they are almost back to peak condition. I also think that the amount of food to give to the fish seems to be less than you would think, I guess a better way of saying it is; it is easy to give the fish too much food, they fill up quickly. I still try to feed what they will clean up in 30 secs, then feed the same amount again, but it took a couple of feeds to work out what this amount of food was. It will be interesting to see how the food is priced when released on the market.


The fish are looking great. Condition is back to normal for most fish (after my 2 weeks away on rations). They absolutely hammer the food like nothing I have ever seen at times. A real feeding frenzy. I’m still impressed with this food. I’m continuing to feed the Rift Lake Red/Green now after a full week on the Aegis. I’ll feed the Red/Green as appropriate until it runs out before going back to Aegis again.


I took a couple of photos to show what the food looks like.

This is the Aegis immune boosting food.

The food can easily be squeezed and rolled into a bigger pellet for feeding to larger fish. This is the Aegis made into a bigger pellet. I only used a small fraction of the amount of food in the previous picture to make this ball of food.

This is the Rift Lake Green and Rift Lake Red side-by-side. The Rift Lake Green has a more flexible and rubbery texture, while the Red is more crumbly. Both can also be squeezed into larger balls of food if required.

Big thanks to Matt for sharing his thoughts on what looks like a great product.

Serial Killer Smile: The Elephant in the Room…


Ever since the breaking of ‘Silverchair’ with ‘Frog Stomp’ in 1995, we have had a steady succession of heavy alternative acts in this country that have achieved national and even international fame in their time. Especially in this last decade with bands such as ‘Karnivool’, ‘Cog’ & ‘The Butterfly Effect’ coming to the fore and playing a huge influence on a whole generation of young musicians idolising their records. This has I believe, made it hard for new bands of this genre to stand up and have a sound that is uniquely their own, as many fall trap to emulating their idols a little too closely. After a few listens to the disc that is sitting in front of me, I am happy to report this is not the case here.

Right from the moment the first groovy guitar riff of ‘The Baker’ crunches in, backed by the syncopated drums, you find yourself bopping your head almost unconsciously. You can tell you are in for something special here. I am immediately struck by the high quality of this recording, the string arrangement towards the end of ‘The Baker’ is amazing. Ben Bowden’s vocals sound clear and airy, floating on a cloud of melody above the groovy, chunky, math laden riffs being laid down by guitarist Richard Lant. Mark Degebrodt’s drumming is sublime, from big pounding beats with huge Danny Carey’esq rolls, to off beat patterns that carry you the whole way through the record with-out once becoming repetitive or ‘stock’ in anyway. ..but what would the drums be with-out big fat, rolling bass lines? Matt Snow’s contribution is excellent. Tight, fat and a great dirty tone to the bass when needed. No sweeping this giant bass sound under the mix, no his lines stand out crisp and clear always providing perfect complement and groove in their own right.

From the very first line ‘I could’a killed someone’ of ‘The Irrepressible’ you can tell this is the stand-out single of this Ep. Not that this song is unusually good compared to the rest of the disc, not so, each song could stand out on it’s own individually. And that is where the strength of this record lies. Not from one great stand out track, but 5 tracks of solid groove, melody and hooks. I dare you to try and not bop your head along to this record. I dare you. It is just simply not possible. There is just too much groove, great guitar tones, huge hooking choruses, interesting and pounding drum beats for you not to. This is a record these four musicians should be very proud of. The song writing is mature, every song is perfectly crafted, leaving you, by the time the 5 songs are finished, just wanting more.

If you are into any kind of heavy music you will appreciate this record, but if you are into heavy music but not so into heavy vocals, you will absolutely love this record! If you haven’t already checked out ‘Serial Killer Smile’ you can do so on their Facebook page here:

The band will be releasing their record ‘The Elephant in The Room’ on the 17th of February at the The Rosemount Hotel. They will be supported by Further Earth, Copious & This Other Eden. This is shaping up to be an excellent launch, for an amazing disc, by a great Perth band that has a bright future. I hope you take the time to check out ‘Serial Killer Smile’ and purchase their debut Ep ‘The Elephant in The Room’, you will not be disappointed.


A review of the Fluval FX5 by Glenn Oblivion


This is a fantastic review of the Fluval FX5 canister filter. This article was written by our Oz Fish For Sale member ‘oblivion’. I would like to thank him for his contribution.

Its been approx 5 weeks, so i figured its time to review the fluval fx-5 that im running on my 6ft display tank.
some of you may remember this thread.

The fx-5 arrives nicely packaged, comes with nice clear instructions and a setup dvd.

The hose is a one piece unit with a rubber sleeve on each end. you cut it to length and attach the rubber sleeves to the “aquastop valves”. the cut end is connected to your intake tube or the twin output nozzles.

I fitted the canister to one of the centre areas of my cabinet, its a cosy fit with little room left,  and cut the hose as required.
You only get 4m of hose, and i found there is no room for error on the hose.
my intake hose was cut to slightly under 2m length, this left a little extra on the output hose. there was no extra to be cut off, and they dont quite reach the very corners of the tank (approx 10cm short of the corner which is fine anyway)

Fluval says it can take a max of 5m of hose (in/out hose length combined) so it would have been nice if they gave us a 5m hose to begin with so you had just a little bit more freedom with the hose placement.
at ~$50+ for a replacement hose you dont want to screw up that first cut or you’ll pay dearly for it.

Giving you a third ‘aquastop’ valve so you can use it to pump water during PWC was a very nice touch though, as was the drain valve on the bottom of the canister.

Inside the canister, the three trays lock together nicely and has large thick foam pads for mechanical filtration.

I had a spare sheet of filter material (its like a sponge scourer pad) so i decided to also cut some round filter pads to sit on The top of the bio media in the 3 trays. not sure why, but i felt obliged anyway  :laughhard:
Iam not using carbon so I was able to 3/4 fill all 3 trays with a total of about 6L of matrix media.
it could have taken a bit more but i didnt see a need to pack it right out.

I filled the canister with tank water, and started it up. it is completely silent in the cabinet.
I like the broad intake strainer, and the fully adustable twin output nozzles are fantastic.
I have one shooting water down the back wall of the tank to flush detritus out of the rock work, and the other is churning the surface. sometimes the fish seem to love swimming in their flow, just for kicks.

4 weeks later
I had not done a water change or filter pad in 4wks. this is about 1-2wk longer than i would ever get out of the trickle tray on the top of the tank.

Water tests were fine but the water was getting yellow’ish tannins from the wood, and i decided it was about time for an inspection anyway.
last weekend was the first time opening the FX5 for maintenance since i fitted it, just before xmas.

Opening the canister:
usually you will get a dribble of water out the aquastop valves when you disconnect them from the canister but i have worked out a way around this.

While the filter is running turn off the intake valve. wait approx 2secs then turn off the outlet valve, then immediately turn off your canister.
now when you disconnect the hoses you will not get any more than a few drips out of it.

With approx 36 cichlids ranging from 5 – 20cm, and a few silver sharks and some BN’s, this filter had done hardly any work at all during that 5wks.

The pads had a slight brown tint (fish waste) starting to build in a few points, the extra pads i added had a very light load as did the matrix media. the foam pads were obviously doing an excellent job.

Being such a large canister volume  and only a light build up on the pads i was able to wash all the filter pads and give the matrix media a light rinse just in that one canister of water.
add a hose to the bottom drain valve on the canister, open it up and let all that soupy brown water flow out into a bucket.
when the canister was half empty i sat it on a very small coffee table to help gravity drain it out completely..

Refilling the canister was as easy as pointing the intake hose over the open canister and opening the tap. within a few seconds it was pre-filled and ready to be sealed and started up again.

The build of the entire unit just says “quality” all over.
lots of awesome features – air purge system, good intake strainer + adjustable twin output nozzles, strong water flow, aqua stop valves for ease of use + a spare so your canister can pump water during WC routine, and the bottom drain valve is excellent.

The main negative would be that they skimp on that measly 1m of extra hose by only giving you 4m when it can take 5m.
cmon fluval, give us a 5m hose to begin with and make it perfect.

fx5 manual


I would like to thank Glenn again for his contribution.  😀